You may think about deep cleaning the house in spring only, but winter cleaning is important, too. And I’m not just talking about vacuuming or dusting.
Something you may not have considered is how the colder months affect how clean (or dirty) our homes become. One of the big factors in cleanliness during winter? Air quality in the home.
For example, in winter all the windows are closed so no fresh air is getting in. And if you have forced air heat, that could affect things, too.
But I’ll get to that a bit later.
Our cleaning habits don’t help our homes stay clean in winter. For example, many of us only clean areas of the home within arm’s reach.
But stuff we can’t reach, such as high ceilings or on top of kitchen cabinets? We ignore them and pretend it doesn’t matter.
I’m the same with dusting tops of window frames and any horizontal blinds.
Well, it all matters. Why?
These areas are exactly where unwanted dust and dander can settle. This can have an adverse effect on the quality of the air inside a home.
Winter cleaning tips
Here are some cleaning tips for winter. Truth be told, you could follow them at any time of the year.
Not only could they help you breathe easier, but also they can help you get your home in tiptop shape in time for the upcoming holiday season.
And if you’re thinking of selling your home in 2023, you’ll be ahead of the game with cleanings.
Vacuum cleaners while cleaning
Recently, I was watching an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” when the Barrones were expecting company.
So what is Deborah doing? Vacuuming like crazy before their guests arrived.
This is what most people do–get out the vacuum cleaner an hour or so before someone is coming over. However, if that someone (or you) is allergic, that’s not a great idea.
Vacuuming may kick up dirt and dust particles into the air, which can take more than two hours to settle.
When planning for company, make sure you allow enough time for the dust to settle before your guests arrive.
Tips for combatting kitchen smoke
Do you use any kind of ventilation when you’re cooking? I’m not talking about turning on a fan after you’ve burned something.
Turns out, an exhaust hood improves the air quality in your kitchen.
Don’t have a fancy exhaust hood over your stove? Well, you can always turn the exhaust fan on the microwave on–assuming it sits above the stove.
That fan will help to extract pollutants,such as smoke and grease.
Make sure you use the fan every time you cook, not only after you smell burning food or see smoke.
Cracking a window can also help improve indoor air quality.
How clean is your bathroom
The moist, warm environment of the bathroom makes it a prime breeding ground for mold and mildew.
In fact, when it comes to winter cleaning tips, you may want to focus much of your time on the bathrooms. Why?
Because most people consider it to be the dirtiest room in the home and they would be right.
However, it isn’t just about cleaning toilets and washing floors. You want to make sure the air in the bathroom doesn’t stay moist for mold and mildew to accumulate.
So, what should you do? Make sure you run your bathroom exhaust fan while you’re in the shower.
Then, once you get out, keep the fan going for at least 20 minutes afterward. This will help to clear out the moisture buildup that attracts mold and mildew.
Cleaning up after pets
Pets slough off dander that can accumulate on household surfaces and in the air. Trust me, I know.
With two dogs, we have pet hair everywhere.
And the dogs aren’t even the same color. One is black and the other is grayish, tan and white.
Recently, we invested in this cleaning tool called Uproot Clean. It does an amazing job getting pet hair off the carpet, furniture and even the car.
It is even better than our fancy Miele vacuum cleaner.
If you’re dealing with smooth floors, it’s a good idea to use an electrostatic or microfiber dry mop to trap hair on hardwood floors before vacuuming.
As far as your furniture, consider keeping a throw blanket on couches and chairs to prevent fur from sticking to cushions.
Another option is to use a damp rubber glove to pick up hair that’s collected on furniture. The fur will “stick” to the rubber glove.
Winter cleaning tips to improve indoor air
One of the best ways to improve the air inside your home, especially if you have a forced-air HVAC system, is to change the air filters regularly.
Me, I use a mail order filter service that literally sends me a new filter each month. Nothing like an air filter showing up on your front step to remind you that it’s time to change out the old one.
Some might say that’s overkill. I’d rather be overzealous in changing the filter than be ignorant about doing it all together.
While most filters are good for three months, guess what if you’ve got pets? You should be changing the filter every flipping month. Seriously.
Most Americans probably don’t know when to change their air filters.
Even the EPA only recommends checking your filter monthly but definitely changing it quarterly. It’s up to you.
But, like I said, because I have two dogs, I’d rather err on the side of changing my filter more often than not frequently enough.
I believe that having a clean filter in my forced air system goes a long way towards keeping my home cleaner and healthier year round, including in the winter.
Final thoughts on winter cleaning tips
I find that when it’s winter, we tend to track more dirt into the house. Why? Because our shoes are wet with snow, salt or both.
So a great first step (no pun intended) towards keeping your home this winter is to take your shoes off at the door.